BERKS CATHOLIC RACES PAST VALLEY VIEW 56-36

Well we are way past big speech time for most coaches with teams still playing in the PIAA tournament.  For Valley View and Berks Catholic both came into the PIAA 4A matchup Tuesday from entirely different directions.  BC highly favored struggled in their first round matchup. Valley View came in following an impressive win.  Legendary Berwick High hosted this matchup and despite the Valley View Cougars best efforts, Berks Catholic proved to tough.  The Saints came away with a 56-36 win Tuesday night.

Luis Garcia just played lights out all over the court for Berks Catholic.   Garcia’s 20 points led all scorers.  Keba Mitchell just controlled the paint with block after block, rebound after rebound.  Keba also had 14 points.  Jaden Duplessis had a sold effort for Valley View with 17 points.

Clearly each team had the jitters to start the game.  It was only 5-3 Cougars 6 minutes into the game.  A Casey Jack steal and awesome bounce pass assist to Tre Dabney as the quarter ended made it 10-7 BC after one.  Despite some very nice efforts by Keba Mitchell and Luis Garcia, BC cold not shake Valley View until down the stretch in quarter two.  Berks Catholic had played very well but had only a 23-13 lead at the half.

Berks Catholic never let Valley View feel they could get back into the game.  But the Cougars never let up.  Valley View  did  throw a few good runs at the Saints in quarter three.  After three quarters BC held a 39-28 lead.  The fourth quarter was all Berks Catholic.  Solid offensive sets coupled with good free throw shooting made the final Berks Catholic 56 Valley View 36.  The win for BC tied a school record for most wins in a season with 28.  The Saints now face Bethlehem Catholic Friday in the next round as a site to be determined.

McDEVITT HAS IT’S WAY WITH KUTZTOWN 59-42

Coming up from the Philadelphia Catholic League the Lancers of Bishop McDevitt.  And from Berks Country the District Three 3A runner up Kutztown Cougars.  Despite being the higher seeded team, the clear favorite coming in were the battle tested Lancers.   McDevitt ran out to a quick lead  and coasted home win a 59-42 win.

Robert Smith guided the offense and poured in 18 points for McDevitt.  Shamir Mosley and Jamil Manigo each chipped in 10.  Matt Angstadt paced Kutztown with 9.  Star Lorenz Jean-Baptiste was held in check all game by the Lancers and finished with 8.

McDevitt took control of the game from the outset.  Nice offensive sets coupled with some tenacious half court defense had the Lancers up 13-6 after one over the Cougars.  McDevitt continued to have productive possessions and Kutztown struggled to get any offensive flow.  We went to halftime McDevitt up 31-14.

Kutztown came out after halftime with renewed intensity.  Dane Fegley and Matt Angstadt picked up the offensive slack and the Cougars had cut the lead to 12 midway through the third quarter.  McDevitt never panicked and that was as close as Kutztown would get.  The Lancers led 43-28 after three and flipped the switch starting the fourth quarter.  The lead was 21 with just over two minutes left.  The reserves from both teams came in and close it out.  The final was Bishop McDevitt 59 Kutztown 42.   The Lancers are on to round two of the PIAA Tourney.  No hanging of heads for Kutztown. This fine season comes to an end, but a bright future awaits.

 

READING HIGH ELIMINATES BENSALEM 63-38

The beauty about PIAA post season basketball is the mystery surrounding the inter sectional opening round games.  Many of these teams and many of these leagues have very few points of reference to judge performances.  So  Saturday afternoon the Bensalem Owls and Reading Red Knights  faced off at the GMIS in an opening round PIAA tourney game.  A nip and tuck first half, was replaced with a Reading High runaway in in the second half.  The Red Knights cruised on to PIAA tourney round two with a 63-38 win over Bensalem.

Reading got solid play from Larry Wingo and Daniel Colter  each with 13 points.  Wesley Butler had all of his 11 points in the second half. James Lieble’s strong inside game and 12 points led Bensalem.

The first quarter was a clash of styles.  Reading was trying to get things up tempo to negate Bensalem’s height advantage.  Bensalem did their best to maximize the inside advantage.  After one Reading was up 11-10.  Reading stepped up the defensive pressure to keep up the tempo.  The constant pressure got Bensalem out of offensive rhythm and opened up the passing lanes.  The Red Knights also began to work better on the boards and held a 25-20 lead at the break.

The third quarter was all Reading.  Daniel Colter and Larry Wingo began to work a nice inside and outside game on offense.  Coupled with Bensalem going absolutely cold from the field The Red Knights began to pull away and led 41-24 after three.   With three minutes left Reading had just removed all doubt by forging a 55-32 lead. It was keep away and free throw time after that  The Red Knights just ran away and hid for a 63-38 win.  The Red Knights move on in the tourney to face C.B. West.

 

BERKS CATHOLIC ESCAPES FROM JOHN BARTRUM 47-43

Around this time of year you just never know. Opening round PIAA tourney games can be well, unpredictable? John Bartrum a relatively unknown .500 Philadelphia public league school, vs Berks Catholic, the well oiled machine from Berks County. A long and traffic delayed drive to almost a home game for the Saints. No chance for the Braves you say, well not so fast my friends. John Bartrum did not know they were an underdog. John Bartrum played a very emotional style of basketball. John Bartrum gave everything they had…but fell just short. Berks Catholic’s experience and execution proved to much down the stretch. The Saints came away with a hard fought 47-43 win over John Bartrum at the Geigle complex in Reading Friday Night

Tre Dabney led the Saints with 12 points. Off the bench, Jack Hagelbarger with 8 points and Luke Painton’s 7 were big reasons why the Saints came out on top. Khyree Lloyds had 13 for John Bartrum.

The game had a lot of action to start, but very little scoring. Halfway through the first quarter it was 6-2 Saints. BC kept up its good defense the rest of the quarter and led 12-7 after one. A key development in quarter one was Keba Mitchell picking up two fouls. Mitchell would be on the bench the entire 2nd quarter. Luke Painton picked up where Mitchell left off in quarter two. Luke and Jack Hagelbarger off the bench and Tre Dabney gave BC a spark. The Saints needed something as they were cold from the field and Bartrum was ruling the glass. The Saints led John Bartrum 24-18 at the break.

The third quarter, well lets just say it was not one of BC’s best. But lets give some credit to Bartrum The Braves 94 foot pressure defense took the Saints out of any kind of offensive rhythm. BC held a slim 26-24 lead going to the fourth. In the fourth quarter things finally began to click for both teams. Saints Coach Snip Easterly shifted to a hi-low post offensive set with Keba Mitchell down low. This paid dividends in a hurry with three Keba Mitchell slams. But Bartrum did not back down. The Braves matched BC bucket for bucket. Bartrum tied the score at 43 with :15 seconds to play. On the ensuing inbounds Bartrum inexplicably fouled BC. Luis Garcia calmly sank both ends of the one and one. 45-43 Saints :05 left Another Bartrum foul after a missed field goal. Garcia makes the front end, misses the 2nd 46-43. Bartrum got the board but a huge steal by Tre Dabney and his free throw made the final BC 47 John Bartrum 43.

Its Tuesday night time for BC in the PIAA tourney next.

READING HIGH GRINDS OUT THE DISTRICT THREE 6A TITLE

Reading High marched through Dallastown and Manheim Township to make it to the District Three 6A title game. In there way stood a solid, veteran, battle tested Chambersburg Trojan squad. Chambersburg led the game after one. Reading High turned up the defensive pressure, pulled out to a lead and had to hang on to a 46-43 triumph and the District Three 6A crown Saturday afternoon in Hershey.

Ricki Lopez led the way for the Red Knights with 10. Ricki had a key basket and free throws down the stretch to preserve the win. Xavier Starks contributed 9 “The House” Joel Torres had a game high 15 to lead the Trojans.

Clearly both teams came out tight to start. Some tough shooting and untimely turnovers by both squads kept the score down to Trojans 10 Reading 9 after one. Reading cranked up the defensive pressure in quarter two. The Red Knights forced numerous turnovers and held Chambersburg without a field goal. Reading held a 19-12 halftime lead.

Reading’s offense finally began to click after halftime. The Red Knights pulled in front by as much as 15 in the third quarter. Then the Trojans began to methodically chip away at the lead. A bucket by Readings Xavier Starks got the lead to 36-25 going to the fourth. Again in the fourth, Chambersburg slowly began to get back in the game. The Trojans were within 6 with 5:50 to play. Chambersburg kept up the charge, but Reading always seemed to have an answer. Then came a barrage of three’s by Chambersburg the Red Knights did not answer. It was a two point game with :32 left. Two key stops, a fast break bucket and free throws by Ricki Lopez got the lead to 46-40 with :16.1 left. Another three by Chambersburg’s Cade Brindle got it to 46-43 with :4.4 left. A foul, missed free throws, by Reading, foul by Reading and a missed bonus opportunity by Chambersburg all got crammed into the last four seconds. IN the end Reading came away with the District Three title 46-43.

BERKS CATHOLIC CLAIMS ANOTHER DISTRICT THREE HOOPS TITLE

Back in November in Hershey the Berks Catholic boys faced off with the Bishop McDevitt Crusaders in football.  The Saints put forth a dominating performance and came away with a District Three title.  Fast forward to March, and it was Deja vu all over again.   Berks Catholic met Bishop McDevitt for the District Three 4A basketball title.  Once again in dominating fashion Berks Catholic came away with a decisive win 46-26 win over Bishop McDevitt.

Luis Garcia battled his way for a game high 14 points for Berks Catholic.  Keba Mitchell was also outstanding again on both ends of the floor for the Saints.

BC pulled out early and never looked back  McDevitt never led in the game.  After one BC held a 13-4 lead  The Saints were in control at the half 23-12.

BC started the 2nd half strong. The Saints extended the lead to 14 halfway through the quarter and were up 13 heading to the fourth. McDevitt could never get any offensive rhythm due in large part to an excellent defensive effort by BC. It was coronation time down the stretch The Saints marched off with a District Three 4A title and huge momentum heading into the state tourney.

 

 

 

 

BERKS CATHOLIC ADVANCES TO THE DISTRICT THREE 4A FINAL

Turning back the clock one year ago, the Berks Catholic Saints were dejected following a District Three Semi Final loss at the hands of the Middletown Raiders.  Don’t ever think that those thoughts of defeat ever left the Saints minds.  Berks Catholic maybe came out a bit to emotional in a rematch with Middletown Monday night.  Once the Saints settled down, there was no stopping them.  A dominating second half performance propelled Berks Catholic to a 51-33 win over Middletown. The Saints now play for the District Three 4A title Thursday Night in Hershey.

Junior Luis Garcia led the way for Berks Catholic with 15 points  Tre Dabney chipped in 11 and the score book does not tell you how the inside presence of Keba Mitchell influences a game.  Ryan Hughes 11 points paced Middletown.

The game had a rather sluggish start as both teams let emotions get the best of them. Better than halfway through quarter one BC was only up 6-5.  The Saints found a bit of offensive rhythm that included a great ball fake, then SLAM move by Keba Mitchel.  The Saints led 15-8 after one.  In quarter two the emotions really started to run high and Middletown creeped back in the game.  When the horn sounded for halftime BC was only up 23-21. Unfortunately for the Saints, Mitchell picked up his third foul  as the half came to a close.

BC came out playing with confidence in the second half.  Coupled with hard luck shooting by Middletown BC pulled out to a 35-27 lead after three.  The fourth quarter was a methodical march toward a win by BC,  The Saints led by 14 hallway through the quarter and finished off Middletown for a 51-33 final score.

BC will next face parochial District Three foe Bishop McDevitt in the 4A final  The Crusaders had a tussle with Kennard-Dale but pulled away at the end 62-53.

 

READING HIGH TURNS AWAY DALLASTOWN 83-71

The reward for the Dallastown Wildcats coming back from an 18 point deficit to win Wednesday night over Central York, a trip to the Geigle to face Reading High.  Clearly the Wildcats and their fans were not intimidated at all facing the defending 6A State Champs on their home floor .  Despite falling behind by as much as 20 in the first half ,Dallastown never let up.  The Wildcats fought and clawed back to within seven of Reading High in quarter four. In the end, the Red Knights depth, talent and crowd proved to be to much to overcome. Reading High came out with an 83-71 victory Friday night.

Ricki Lopez playing in his final game at the Geigle Complex led the way for Reading High with 22  I was also very impressed with Ricky’s team leadership all game long. Xavier Starks had another solid game with 13. 12 each for RJ Dixon and Larry WIngo.  Dallastown’s agent Zero Braden Caldwell had 20.  Da’Trail Alberts pumped in 16 from every angle and distance for the Wildcats.  Will Burton had a very impressive 11 points.

Reading High poured it on Dallastown from the opening tip.  Ricki Lopez worked the inside and the Reading D forced the Wildcats into some early turnovers.  After one Reading was up 25-11.  Briefly in quarter two the red Knights moved out to a 20 point lead, that’s when Dallastown got mad.  The Wildcats starting playing the pressure D, 94 foot game Reading is known for and things began to change.  Reading got a late hoop just before half to  push the lead to 46-32 at the break.

The intensity and emotion of the game and crowd really picked up in the second half. Despite everything, Reading still maintained its composure and held off the Wildcats by 13 64-51 after three. It was fever pitch time in quarter four.  The Geigle was a fan mad house when Dallastown closed the gap to 7 ,70-63 with 3:32 left.  But this was as close as the Wildcats got.  Reading played solidly down the stretch and pulled away for an 83-71 gut check win.

The Red Knights move on to the Giant Center in Hershey next Tuesday at 8:30  Manhiem Twp. will be the next opponent.

 

WILSON WL IMPRESSIVELY OVER CARLISLE 70-49

Most coaches will tell you that they want there team peaking going into the tournament.  Well for Wilson, this team looks to be peaking at just the right time.  A tough first quarter turned into an almost flawless three quarters of basketball. The Bulldogs scored the most points all season in route to a 70-49 victory over Carlisle Tuesday night in West Lawn.

Stevie Mitchell sparked the offense for Wilson.  Off the bench Mitchell had a game high 19 points and had several key assists.  Bryce Calloway was solid with 11 and a great sign for the Bulldogs Evin Timochencko had 10 points and ran the floor effectively. Carlisle’s Ki Barnes got off to a hot start and finished with 16.

The first quarter was all Carlisle.  Great offensive movement, running the fast break well and hot shooting had the Wilson home crowd in a gasp  It was 19-11 Herd after one.  And when Wilson in bounded the ball in quarter two, everything changed. Wilson began to run it ‘s offense with extreme purpose and precision.  If Wilson didn’t make a shot, the Bulldogs got the rebound and scored. Carlisle’s basket suddenly had a lid on it and when they missed Wilson made sure there were no second chances. By Halftime Wilson had broken away and led the Herd spirit  by eight 30-22.

In the third quarter Wilson kept up the pressure, but Carlisle held there own  Wilson only increased the lead slightly to 39-29 after three.  IN the fourth quarter, well that’s when the track meet broke out.  Up and down the floor both teams went in a no holds barred, leave nothing in the tank fourth quarter.  Wilson scored almost as many points in the fourth quarter as they did an entire overtime game with Berks Catholic.  The Bulldogs took advantage of some less than stellar Carlisle defense to run off with the 70-49 victory.

.WIlson moves on in the winners section of the PIAA District Three Tourney.  The Bulldogs are off  to Hempfield Friday night.

 

HERSHEY ESCAPES FROM EXETER TWP. 54-50

PIAA District Three post season games, regardless of the sport, always feature some very non-traditional inter conference matchups  Such was the case Monday when Exeter Twp traveled to play Hershey.  Hershey had a strong consistent year that featured a conference crown.  Exeter Twp. an up and down season coming off a blow out loss in the Berks County Tourney.  On paper this was a one sided matchup. In reality it was a hard fought nip and tuck battle.  Hershey got the better of the matchups down the stretch and defeated Exeter Twp 54-50 Monday night.

The game marked two milestones for Hershey.  Head Coach Paul Blackburn notched his 300th career win.  And standout Jake Wilson scored his 1,000th point.  Wilson also led the Trojans in scoring Monday night with 17.  Hershey also played some stellar defense and held Exeter’s leading scorer Alex Javier to only eight points.  The Eagles Anthony Wise stepped up and put down 15 points to lead the Exeter scoring.

Exeter Twp came out extremely fired up.  The Eagles scored the first nine points and kept the Trojans as bay for most of the first quarter.  This despite their big man Riley Dobraniecki being forced to the bench early with two quick fouls .  Despite that the Eagles led 17-11 after one.  Hershey turned up the defensive pressure in quarter two.  The Trojans forced some Exeter mistakes and turned them into points.  The Eagles hung in there until the half and were still up 23-20 at the break

The entire third quarter was a series of  Hershey runs, followed by Exeter answer’s  The Eagles maintained a slim 38-34 lead after three.  Fueled by a pressing, ball hawking defense Hershey finally got past the Eagles.  Exeter’s RIley Dobraniecki saddled with foul trouble all night fouled out with 2:25 left.  Shortly after the disqualification  Hershey began to move inside and took the lead.  The Trojans  took control down the stretch and came away with the 54-50 win.

Hershey now (20-4) goes up against #3 seed Northeastern (23-2) on Thursday in PIAA District Three quarterfinal action in York.